We’ve been fans of JM Darhower and her powerful story Sempre since, well, forever…
and it’s been worth it!
Now, we know we’re still a relatively young blog,
but that never stops us from thinking big!
Like THIS big…
So, when JM Darhower tweeted that she needed one more book blog to announce the official title of the sequel to Sempre, Chick kitt happened to be on twitter and politely, but seriously, DM’d her to express interest on behalf of this blog.
A few hours later, Chick Lisa saw the call from JM while she was out and was a little more desperate in her response…
When we chicks didn’t hear back right away, we thought we’d missed out! We may or may not have done a little of this…
An email came from JM the following day saying that we were in. There was definitely a whole lot of this going on…
Now that we have the go-ahead…
let’s move on to the exciting announcement!
As the author announced here, the rights to Sempre and The Unnamed Sequel (Sempre: Redemption) were sold to Simon & Schuster. They are treating it as a fresh acquisition, which is why both books are getting the complete treatment (editing, cover, promo, etc.).
From the highly anticipated sequel…
***Content may be altered or omitted from the final product***
The black Mazda RX-8 sped along the worn gravel road, twisting and turning as it penetrated deeper into the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Haven clutched onto the passenger seat as the car haphazardly weaved through the dense forest.
“Are we lost?” she asked hesitantly as she stared at her boyfriend. Carmine was slouched in the driver’s seat, fiddling with the radio. Sunglasses shielded his eyes from her, so she couldn’t tell if he was paying any attention to the road.
Haven glanced out the windshield, squinting from the early morning sunshine. Things looked the same in every direction-nothing but endless trees surrounding them. How could he know? “Are you sure?”
Stubborn. “Where are we going?”
Shaking her head, Haven surveyed the area. At first it appeared to be nothing unusual, a small gap in the trees with a cabin set a few yards away, until she spotted the faded white sign in the distance. Landell Christmas Tree Farm, it said in green hand-painted letters.
Although it felt as if time had stopped for the two of them, the calendar told a different story. It was the 23rd of December already, a month since they’d returned to the small North Carolina town of Durante in an attempt to get back to their lives… in an attempt to regain a bit of normalcy and piece together their relationship. It had been a struggle, dealing with the fallout of her kidnapping, but they took it day-by-day.
Together, the two of them set out through the tree farm.
“How about this one?” she asked after a while, stopping in front of a tree a few inches taller than her. “Do you like it?”
Carmine hardly even looked. “It’s too bare.”
Haven’s brow furrowed, unsure as to what he was talking about. The branches appeared full to her. “So finicky.”
“Whatever,” he muttered. “Do you see any others?”
“Uh…” She glanced around, randomly motioning toward another tree a few feet away. “What about that one?”
Carmine scanned it. “Perfect.”
Letting go of her hand, Carmine studied the tree, deciding how to go about taking it down. Haven watched him for a moment and burst into laughter when he took his first swing. It barely even sliced the thick bark.
Carmine groaned. “What’s so funny?”
“This is going to take you all day,” she said. “We should’ve just picked one that was already chopped down.”
“That’s cheating,” he said. “Just because it’s the easy way doesn’t mean it’s the best way. Sometimes it’s better to put in the work.”
He whacked the trunk repeatedly, the blade eventually cutting through the wood. Despite the cold temperatures, by the time the tree tilted, Carmine was huffing and drenched with sweat. It gathered along his forehead, running down the side of his face and dripping from his chiseled jaw. Haven watched him struggle in silence, a familiar pang of guilt deep down inside of her gut as she was reminded of what he’d done.
This boy-this stubborn, selfless, stupid boy-had given himself to the Mafia. He’d handed control of his future over to the men they hated most in exchange for her life. For her safety. And he’d done it so easily, so quickly, like there wasn’t even a choice at all… like making this sacrifice for her came just as naturally as breathing.
The act had left him fractured, and Haven was still trying to come to grips with the fact that it may be a long time before he was whole again. She was grateful to be alive, picking out a Christmas tree with the boy she loved, but she was also angry. Not at him-not anymore. That anger had been unfounded. She was mad at herself now, and at the universe, because no matter what she did, she couldn’t help Carmine.
Once again in her life, Haven felt powerless.
So she stood by silently, continuing to watch, terrified of looking him in the eyes one day and seeing regret. Frightened that someday, he’d turn to her, and she’d see her worst fear playing out in his face: that she hadn’t been worth it.
(A/N: This —> This boy-this stubborn, selfless, stupid boy… *flails* And just like that, we’re transported back “there.” Is it December yet?!)
As if that’s not enough, each of the four participating blogs has a character reveal for fans!
Recognize this beautiful man?
The end justifies the means: the belief that it’s okay to do immoral things as long as it’s for a good cause. Not everyone agrees with the concept, but I certainly do.
It doesn’t matter what I did along the way—what I stole, which lies I told, who I annihilated—as long as I had a good reason to do it all. And protecting my family… honoring my family… is the only reason I’ve ever had for anything.
Personally, I can’t think of a better reason than that.
I don’t particularly like some of the things I’ve done, and I’m certainly not proud of a lot of it. There’s no room for pride in the life of a man like me. I did it because I had to do it. It’s as simple as that. And if I could go back and relive my life, I’d make all the same choices all over again.
Not to say I don’t feel any remorse, because I do, but wallowing in regret is pointless. The end justifies the means. And the end… well… all I can say is that when the end comes, I’ll hold my head high as long as I did everything I could for my family.
Am I a bad man? I’m sure some people think so. Maybe even you do, but it doesn’t matter. Opinions mean nothing. I live my life by facts. And the fact of the matter is, I may not live to see tomorrow, but I’m alive today. And as long as my heart’s still beating, I’ll fight with everything left in me to do what I have to do.
We know you’re as excited as we are if you’re here reading this. Thanks for stopping by. Special thanks to JM Darhower and Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books for letting us take part in the reveal.
And so it is that this story about sacrifice… death… love… freedom… this story about forever… continues. And we will continue to be fans… sempre!
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